Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner is being sued in Pima County Superior Court for sexual battery, sexual assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. One of the parties whom Pastner filed a defamation suit against earlier this year filed a counterclaim today accusing the Yellow Jackets coach of assaulting her in early 2016, when Pastner still coached the Memphis Tigers. The accuser is Jennifer Pendley, who, along with boyfriend Ronald Bell, came forward with evidence that they had provided illegal benefits for Pastner’s program. Pendley and Bell’s claims left two Georgia Tech player suspended for a total of nine games.
Pastner sued Bell and Pendley in January for defamation on the grounds that they’d falsely accused him of knowing about the benefits his players were getting. He also said that the pair had fabricated claims that he’d assaulted Pendley, and would soon come forward with them: “I am disgusted and devastated by the actions of two individuals to whom I showed compassion. My family and I are victims of fraud and extortion and the extent to which these individuals have gone to harm us is truly unfathomable. I absolutely and unequivocally never assaulted or harassed Ms. Pendley, and I am truly sickened by these false claims.”
As KOLD’s Dan Marries first reported, Pendley’s lawyers answered Pastner’s defamation suit with a counterclaim of sexual assault. According to the suit, Pastner and Pendley were in a hotel room on Feb. 10, 2016 while Bell was showering in the bathroom. Pendley claims that Pastner took out his penis and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, masturbating in front of her then ejaculating on her shirt when she resisted his advances and called for Bell, who was apparently unable to hear.
Pendley says Pastner sexually harassed Pendley 11 times between the first incident and March 4, groping her, pushing her up against the wall, and threatening her if she divulged anything. After Pastner left Memphis to take the Georgia Tech job in April 2016, the two didn’t see each other for a while, until Nov. 2016, when she says he groped her in a more invasive manner, with a security staffer witnessing the whole thing. Pendley claims she has suffered from nightmares, depression, and anxiety, while her pulmonary hypertension has gotten worse.
When asked for comment, Georgia Tech sent Deadspin the following statement:
We are aware that a countersuit was filed today in response to the civil lawsuit that Georgia Tech men’s basketball head coach Josh Pastner filed in Arizona on Jan. 12. Coach Pastner and his legal team have continued to keep Georgia Tech fully appraised of the situation, and we support Coach Pastner’s efforts to address this personal matter. Georgia Tech does not comment on pending legal cases.
Pastner’s lawyers also released a very unequivocal statement.
Pendley and Bell’s answer to the defamation suit (page 1) and counterclaim (page 22) are below.